Do you ever wonder what your kids are like when they’re at school? Do you wonder what they do when they get frustrated in class, or how they look when they have an “aha moment?”
One small side benefit of having kids learning at home as we deal with this new, mostly indoor life, is that we can now witness a lot of the things we only could wonder about when kids were away.
The lightbulbs, the frustration; all the emotion wrapped up in learning something new, and kids sometimes getting it, sometimes not.
Sure, we can ask for progress reports when picking kids up from school, but we all know that those conversations can be short and sweet, for lack of a better term.
So, as we now find ourselves in the latter stages of what is historically our first month ever offering Virtual Tech Camps, the observations are pouring in.
Real words from real parents and real kids having fun and building brilliance in online courses rooted in Roblox, Python, Minecraft, and more.
May 2020 Update: Because the reviews are now coming in fast and furious, we will be posting a running list of parent and student testimonials below, which is then followed by the content of the original post—enjoy!
Instructor was very engaging and took time to answer questions. She spent time working with each child and was very patient. Her enthusiasm for the topic was helpful and Michael has been spending time working on his stories/drawing this entire weekend. He is so excited about learning more about this area. -Wendy K.
Giovanni had an amazing time learning how to code with Roblox and we, as parents, we were very impressed. His teacher was helpful and Giovanni had a great time learning from him. Thank you so much for the amazing opportunity! -Chris F.
My son is a beginner at computers but is interested in computer animation, and this course really motivated him. His instructor was great at explaining things and got my son even more excited to explore animation. This was just what we needed to keep my son (and us parents) from losing our minds during lock-down homeschooling. Thank you!! -Barbara B.
Loi did a great job with the kids! His patience, problem solving skills and enthusiasm really kept them engaged. Whatever you pay him, you should double it! Cade looks forward to having another class with him! The tech support team was fantastic helping us work through getting programs installed on Sunday before camp. It made a big difference having everything ready to go ahead of the camp. -Kristin O.
Sean was excited by what he learned and spent at least another 4 hours experimenting in python. It was great to see him so engaged in a productive activity since school will likely be canceled for the rest of the year. - Kevin B.
Instructor was great at explaining the Zoom controls and was successful in getting them all engaged in the subject. Benji is incredibly shy, but by the end of the class he was having a great time. Instructor built a friendly community in a very short time— great job! - Chelsea T.
Miles was SUPER patient with one family having difficulties and with how many times he had to repeat himself! He was great about sharing the screen and checking in to make sure that everyone was with him during each step of the way. And my son is a bit shy and he made sure he asked each student (including Luke) direct questions. Miles is doing great. -Julie B.
I loved this camp, every second of it. My instructor knew A LOT about Roblox coding, and he did a perfect job of making sure we (the students) were always having fun, and on top of what we were learning. Thanks to this camp, I now know how to code a Roblox game, and I am TOTALLY inspired to keep learning and coding. Thank you! -Nicholas M.
ID Tech has been a great boost to my knowledge, and has inspired me to learn more about technology and continue projects and research on my own. I will continue to use the skills I have attained from this program and build on them throughout my future. -Zach G.
I think this was great for kids who knew nothing about the topic and for people who knew what they were doing. I personally think this was a great camp and a great way to spend the time with all the corona virus stuff happening around the world. -Liam C.
iD Tech camps was an educational and fun experience where I could code creatively and learn new things every day. I got so much out of it and I look forward to doing another class. I strongly recommend this camp for curious and risk-taking people looking to have fun! -Lucia W.
I had a great time! I would like to go back to Minecraft world designer again a few more times before my brain has filled up the Minecraft folder. -Kai L.
It was great! I love the work iD Tech puts in to help kids learn more, and the work they do to make the "funometer" the highest level! -Matthew B.
It was really fun discovering how to make Roblox games. I really enjoyed it and I made a Roblox friend. I loved making the disappearing bridge. Overall I loved it. -Madeline S.
It definitely blew my expectations right out of the water and was super fun! I wanted to go back and be in the meeting every day! My instructor was very fun and he definitely loved the content and knew a lot of it. He was very helpful as well! -Mirin L.
This class is amazing and challenging, but fun and exciting. I can't wait to build more things using these lessons as a guide. -Isabel C.
I got up early everyday to get to class because I was so excited. -Carter S.
It was an awesome class and now I know how to make games and more, and my teacher was awesome, and it was a great class for the whole week... -Oscar M.
Last summer when I went to iD Tech, I met one of my now close friends, Violet. Now I’m doing Virtual Tech Camps. Every class I take, I make friends. -Sarah F.
I've been going to iD Tech summer camps since my mom found out about them! They are engaging, innovative, and educational! The students are very receptive and teachable, while the instructors are patient and knowledgeable. However, due to the rising concerns of the COVID-19 Pandemic, most camps and activities were held online. I learned that iD Tech was hosting a week-long spring break camp virtually. The experience was amazing, with kids joining in from Alabama to California! Teachers understood there were kids at different levels, and went at a pace that fitted for everyone! No matter where you're from, or what you're passionate about, iD Tech is the camp to go to! -Shawnak S.
Creating, building skills, and meeting new people? What I love most about the feedback we are receiving is that if you were to take the comments without any context, you might guess that parents were describing an in-person learning experience.
And that’s the goal...to incorporate the magic of camp; not just the courses, skill building, and top notch instruction, but the socialization and fun that are oh-so-crucial to the iD Tech recipe.
(And yes, Obbys! An Obby is an obstacle course, and a common game type in Roblox. With Virtual Tech Camps, kids can learn how to make an Obby.)
This is real, honest stuff. Do we expect every single session for every single student to be perfect? We aim for that outcome, but we have to be realistic, too.
Plus, it’s the “97%" grade that allows us to learn; that pushes us back into the lab to figure out how to reach 100.
There are a couple of points I like with this quote.
One, learners come in all shapes and sizes. Meaning, one student can be brand new, another a little more experienced, one nearly advanced, and so on. But also in terms of the types of learning someone has experienced, whether that’s learning from another, or as mentioned here, being self taught.
What I’m getting at is, online learning allows for a little of “this” if you’ve only experienced a little of “that.”
With a variety of subjects delivered in an entirely new format, a Virtual Tech Camp provides the opportunity for students to learn what they’re interested in, and in an environment that might help things stick more than they’ve ever experienced before.
As we all are looking to reconstruct our normal day-to-day activities, each piece of the puzzle offers its own unique challenges.
With online learning, specifically, one of those challenges is wading through the sea of opportunity...it’s not that online learning is hard to find, but rather how do you know the difference between bad and good, or something that is simply eating up time versus something that is truly valuable?
So when it comes to online learning for kids and specifically, how a free option differs from a paid option, this is the main takeaway: In-person, live interaction is tough to find in most online learning environments.
I’m not saying you can’t find an instructor in front of a video camera, because you can. I’m saying a free option typically doesn’t allow for active learning; two-way communication between instructor and student...and to the degree of that instructor being able to solicit feedback, the student being able to give feedback, and the instructor then incorporating that feedback into the course from that point forward.
So, to see that pointed out here is no surprise, and I bet that many parents will share the same sentiment.
Let’s band together to make each other better
If you don’t know the history of iD Tech, we began offering summer tech programs in 1999. Were they awesome? I’m sure they were; the opportunity for a kid to learn programming and 3D modeling way back then? That’s cool.
Were they the best thing ever? We can certainly look back and call our 1999 launch a success. But we also saw that the next year was better. The one after that even more improved, and so on. We were on the tech forefront back in 1999, but importantly, have held serve for every summer that has followed.
So as we embark on this Virtual Tech Camps experience, I’m sure we will look back with the same thinking. The opportunity to learn coding online, from the comfort of home, from a tech rockstar instructor, and with a small group of like minded peers? That’s cool.
The launch has been a smashing success, but we know next week will be better, as will the week after that, and onward.
Times are tough. Times are weird. But we are creating learning solutions to help your family right now, and look forward to the feedback that will help us constantly iterate in order to bring out the best in your child and boost their skills and confidence.